|Sometimes, children must borrow snow from the neighbors|
The most amusing aspect of an impending storm, however, is the television coverage. There is NO OTHER NEWS than the possibility of snow. Every station sends their lowest seniority reporters out to watch the roads and submit reports every 10-15 minutes. These brave souls are posted on highway overpasses, dressed in ski hats, mukluks and their most recent Christmas sweater, and submit such stories as this:
Field Reporter: Hi, this is Scoop Porter out here in the Columbia Gorge where, as you can see, it has not begun to snow yet.
Anchor: Any reports from the road, Scoop?
Field Reporter: Well, there aren't many out there tonight. People are playing it safe. We did talk to a truck driver headed toward Pendleton, though. He told us that was indeed carrying traction devices. These traction devices, chains he called them, are specially designed to prevent a vehicle from sliding or getting stuck in snow.
Anchor: That's good reporting Scoop. However, we all know there's nothing anyone can do in the event black ice forms on the road surface.
Field Reporter: Right you are. Black ice is treacherous.
Anchor: And why do they call it black ice, Scoop? Is it actually black?
Field Reporter: Heh, heh. No, no. It's called black ice because you can't see it. Ice is transparent, as you probably know, and against the pavement the ice is invisible.
Anchor: So you say this ice is invisible. So suppose little Tommy or Joey scraped some of it up. Would they be able to see it?
Someone has scraped the black ice to check for visibility
Field Reporter: Well, I don't know, but I sure wouldn't encourage kids to be outside tonight scraping up black ice or anything else.
Anchor: Cold out there?
Field Reporter: My grandpa'd say it was cold as a -- just a minute! I thought I saw a flake of snow. Yes. Yes, that was actually a flake of snow out here. The first winter storm of 2012 has arrived.
Anchor: (cutting back to the newsroom, now with a backdrop reading Winter's Wrath) There you have it. It is officially snowing out in the Columbia Gorge. The list of school closures will be available after this quick break.This dialog is only slightly exaggerated, as other Portlanders will affirm. And the reporters are almost correct in calling snowy weather treacherous -- it's actually Pacific Northwest drivers who are dangerous. I recall watching with disbelief as a driver spun out of control coming down Queen Anne Ave. in Seattle. He was so terrified, he jumped out of his car and almost ran himself over. Of course our lack of expertise is exacerbated by the fact that it doesn't snow often enough for the county to purchase snow removal equipment. It's just as dangerous to be on the sidewalk as it is on the road. And it upsets the livestock, as you can see here.